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|Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.|
Monday, February 24, 2014
Getting Started in the College Selection Process
For younger high school students, the process of college discovery is more of a marathon than a sprint. Sure, a few of you may have parents who are alums at X University, and that may be the only destination on your map. But for most of you, deciding where to go to college and why is not something you can expect to figure out overnight.
The "right" college for you is going to be the sum of an equation of many things. Do you want to stay close to home? Is out-of-state tuition in your (or your family's) budget? How do your grades match up with your college choices? Are there good community colleges in your area?
If you've been able to answer some of those questions, you may be able to dig deeper. What are your professional goals? Your collegiate academic goals? What is your learning style? Are you likely to succeed in a small educational environment, or are you open to the idea of a densely populated campus?
Most of all, how do you start answering these questions?
Last week, I wrote about the importance of college tours. If it's in your budget and you have the means of transportation, you should make tracks to universities that may be of interest to you. Getting a tangible feeling for their atmospheres can be a good start in the selection process. If touring isn't a possibility right now, start browsing colleges on line.
Another great option is a college fair. Almost every high school guidance counselor knows where to find one. This can be your opportunity to collect some brochures and speak to college reps face to face. Even the process of approaching strangers with proactive questions about your future is an important experience.
Fairs and tours are a great way to simply warm your mind up to the college search process. Each gives you the chance to test the waters during those early days of discovery. Keep an open mind and let the adventure begin!
Monday, February 17, 2014
The Hardest Part
As we amble into the second week of February, college hopefuls may start to again feel a restless twitching in their feet. October deadlines, Thanksgiving and Winter Break are just a blur now, but it's really been just a few months since the utter chaos of the application season.
By now, you've recovered from the shock of clicking "send" on that application. The no-turning-back-now sense of dread has now receded a bit. Maybe you've even spent the last month or so focusing on high school, instead of college. Funny how that happens.
Just waiting for the blow of big life changes is impossibly hard. The lack of certainty is tough. Especially since you spent the better part of last year laying the foundations for your college future. It's hard not knowing where the chips may fall.
The thing I've learned is that waiting doesn't seem to get any easier with age. It won't always be college admissions, but it will be something else. Waiting to see if escrow closes on your first house. Insurance applications, medical test results.
In that way, getting the envelope should be a relief-either way. Most adults will tell you that, while college was important, it wasn't everything. I got into my top college and enjoyed it, but as an adult, I often wonder if somewhere else would've been a better fit. Either way, life turned out okay.
None of this is easy to hear when you really want something, but it is the truth of life. Waiting is the worst. What you do when you get your answer-that's the satisfying part. So take heart. It will be okay. For the next few weeks, try to remember that today's moments are tomorrow's memories. Keep your eyes peeled for those.
Labels: the Hardest Part
Monday, February 10, 2014
Apologies for Sexism in Business School-All Talk?
This week something rather significant came out of the mouth of the Dean at Harvard Business School (HBS). While speaking at an event entitled "50 Years of Women at HBS", Nitin Nohria was quoted as saying to the women in the audience "I'm sorry on behalf of the business school. The school owed you better, and I promise it will be better".
A discussion of the under representation of women in business school is nothing new. None of the top campuses in the U.S. have gender parity in enrollment. The numbers are getting better-even at Harvard, women now make up around 41% of the student body. The problem is that the slight improvement in numbers isn't playing out in the real world. At least not yet.
According to catalyst.org, the percentage of female CEOs in Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies in 2013 was 4.6%. That is woeful. Nationally, the number of female CEOs in all companies is around 20%. This is true even though women comprise over 56% of the labor force.
Naturally, there are a variety of reasons for some of the numbers, not the least of which is having children. Women are far more likely than men to leave the workforce-temporarily or permanently-in order to raise families. They thus fall off the promotion treadmill and find it difficult or impossible to catch up.
Still, with women comprising around 50% of students in undergraduate education, professional schools still have a great deal to answer for. At HBS, Nohria promised some practical changes, such as adding more women to case studies. Many business schools also offer mentoring and networking support for women.
Whether or not Nohria's words will have any weight, remains to be seen. Most change moves at a snail's pace, but at least he's saying the right thing to the right crowd.
Monday, February 3, 2014
State of College Admissions
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) released it's annual "State of College Admissions" report last week, with welcome news for students who cringe at standardized tests. (Perhaps I'm exaggerating a bit). High school grades are the most important factor in college admissions.
This should come as a welcome reminder to students who have performed consistently well in school over time. The NACAC report notes that colleges also place great emphasis on the rigor of the academic courses at a given school. They also tend to devalue things like class rank, since the difficulty of courses can vary so widely in schools in different regions.
For students shy of standardized testing, it may also come as a bit of a relief. Certainly, at the high levels of competition, test scores matter. A lot. That's mostly because many colleges receive such qualified candidates that they have to find a place to draw the line.
However, the emphasis on grades shows that most colleges are looking at the academic level students can sustain over time. Grades demonstrate a student's ability to perform across a broad arena of subjects, over time, in different settings, with different instructors and different examination methods. So if you're one who suffers from test anxiety, or simply doesn't excel in the multiple-choice, genre, this is good news.
This isn't new news, but it is valuable for students to remember. It is definitely a far more reliable objective measure of academic strength.
The people at NACAC should know. They represent an association of over 10,000 high school counselors, college admissions officials, financial aid officers and other independent college counselors. Their general goal is to help students in the process of transitioning from high school to college.
Labels: State of College Admissions
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